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You’re Going to Love These Pieces

Written By: Erica Johnson
Photographed By: Nathan Whelan

Expert: Andrew Ilsley Cannery Village Casegoods
Credentials: Owner of Cannery Village Casegoods

Q: How did you become a furniture designer?

Andrew Ilsley: When I graduated from architecture school at UC Berkeley, the market was flooded with architects, so I would have been waiting in long lines to snag an unpaid internship at one of the Bay Area architecture firms. It was apparent that producing quality work would require a closer relationship between design and fabrication than is achievable in a traditional office setting. As it turns out, I found my niche in design and fabrication. I decided to start my own shop in [the] early 2000s in a 100-year-old wood shop in the Cannery Village of Newport Beach.

Q: What are your favorite materials to work with?

AI: I often look for distinctive information that shows evidence of time, handwork or the natural environment. Whether it’s the growth rings of a tree, the re-saw marks left by milling or the tool marks in hand fashioned metal, these features can make or break a piece. Working with unprocessed raw materials allows unique characteristics to be featured in a design—characteristics that are only present in that particular specimen. It used to be the norm to edit out irregularities but now they are highly valued for their uniqueness. I think we like to see evidence of where things come from and how they are made. It fills the soul with something that can’t be found on the screen.

Q: What are the emerging trends for homes in Orange County?

AI: In Orange County and in general, thanks in large part to the internet, the XYZ generation seems to be scrutinizing purchases to a much higher degree than people were in the past. With so many options to consider, excellent design and craftsmanship are no longer enough. Social and environmental concerns must also be addressed. Interestingly, the trends have caught up to what seemed pioneering two decades ago. Now that so little is manufactured in the US, it can be difficult to know where your products are being sourced from, their effect on the environment and how workers are being treated. Consumers are starting to demand more control over what goes into their homes by proactively choosing products that contribute to the common good.

Q: What is your most important piece of advice for people that want to redesign

the look of their home?

AI: The best results are usually a product of quality-of-attention and time. Don’t be afraid to allow your curiosity and inspiration lead you in surprising directions and give your considerations time to develop.

Q: What is your personal favorite piece of furniture?

AI: I get excited by a well-placed towel hook! How much I like a piece is usually determined by how well it serves the space and the story it tells. As a general rule, a piece of furniture will only be as good as it’s fit in the context of the space.

Q: Some of your designs are for commercial use. What is the difference from an artistic standpoint?

AI: Commercial brand identification and development involves reaching a broader audience and typically allows for more room to break from convention. Concerns about resale value are overridden by a drive for specific innovations that complement a particular service or product. Commercial spaces have unique infrastructural concerns that need to be dealt with on a tight schedule and often require creative solutions.

Tree Hugger: Andrew makes sure to build his furniture with environmental awareness at the forefront of his mind.
The Graduate: Andrew is an architecture graduate from UC Berkeley. Cannery Village Casegoods

Cannery Village Casegoods
2807 Villa Way
Newport Beach, CA 92663
510.502.4411

Photoshoot Location:
Room & Board
3309 Hyland Ave, Ste A
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
714.549.5995

Andrew Ilsley Talks Wood Shop and Handcrafted Furniture